With a million different things to factor into your day to day life as a Type 1 Diabetic, life goes according to plan about 50 per cent of the time.
Here’s the other 50 per cent:
The one where I forget to bring insulin on a blind date.
I hate being late. I think making someone wait for you is one of the most disrespectful things you can do to someone because you’re showing them that you don’t value their time.
So when I realised 15 minutes into my 16 minute walk to the train station that I had left my insulin pen in my apartment, instead of doubling back and being late for my date, I carried on and figured that I just wouldn’t eat any carbohydrates that night.
Fast forward to the end of the night, where drinking on an empty stomach left me drunk beyond comprehension and throwing up into a bin. Needless to say, there was no second date.
The one where I couldn’t remember if I had already injected.
Picture this: I’m at home, I’ve just unwrapped a beautiful McMuffin and I’m all ready to dig in. Just as I dial up 3 units of insulin and inject myself, I have a flash of dejavu: The feeling that this moment had happened before.
In that moment, I had two choices. I could either do nothing and wait to see if the all too familiar signs of a low blood sugar would come on, or I could beat it there by stuffing my face with carbs. If you know me at all, you’ll know which route I took.
So, the million dollar question – did I actually inject myself twice? Who knows. All I know is that I blazed through way more carbs than I needed to balance out that potential double injection that I ended up with sky high blood sugars that I had to correct for later on anyway.
The one(s) where I try to use my phone as a testing kit.
This isn’t a very long story but you’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve tried to stick a test strip in the charging port of my phone. This, rather unsurprisingly, comes after I’ve had a few drinks. The end.
Read more from Sheena here.
Having Type 1 Diabetes is a full-time job – there are no breaks, there are no off days. When mistakes are made, they come at the detriment of your health, both mental and physical. I’ve been living with this condition for the last 5 years and while I haven’t let it dictate my life, it has been a constant feature in anything and everything I do. It’s sort of this constant hum in the back of your head – what’smybloodsugardidItaketoomuchinsulinmaybeIdidn’ttakeenoughwhat’smybloodsugar? It never really goes away, but you do start to learn how to tune it out so you can focus on living your life.
That’s something that I feel as though I can handle. When it’s just me vs my blood sugars, I’m usually pretty confident that I can come out on top – it’s when I’m around other people that I find that things get a bit more complicated. Because it’s no big deal to inject yourself as many times as you need to when you’re alone, or inhale an entire box of orange juice during a low blood sugar in your own kitchen, but it’s a whole different story when you’re out with your friends and you feel your blood sugars starting to dip.
On more than one occasion, I’ve felt the all-too-familiar signs of a low blood sugar coming on and not spoken up about it or even asked for help. I’d just try to stop my hands from shaking and wipe off the beads of sweat starting to form as I hunted for a source of sugar. If you’ve ever seen me go really quiet on a night out before ordering a Coca-Cola and then chugging the entire thing in about three seconds, I was probably having a low blood sugar (no one’s that thirsty).
I do this quietly mostly because I don’t want to be an inconvenience, or worse still, be seen as overdramatic. People hear the term ‘low blood sugar’ and pass it off as something minor, when really an untreated low blood sugar can lead to you fainting, and even dying in some really severe cases.
I remember being late to a meeting and explaining how I had had a low blood sugar on the way, which caused me to have to stop and pick up a sugary drink from a convenience store. It was 100% true, and I was still trying to recover from it at that very moment, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a couple of people rolling their eyes – as though I was making it out to be a bigger deal than it was. Granted, they probably had no idea about Type 1 Diabetes or low blood sugars or daily injections, about carb counting or glucose meters or test strips, about HbA1cs or the difference between short and long acting insulin.
But that shouldn’t be an excuse. So if you’re going to take away anything from this article, let it be this: If you don’t know the reality of what a person is going through, reserve your judgement. Little interactions can leave a mark and make things even more difficult for people who already have a lot on their plate.
Hear more about Sheena’s experience here.